Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Fenway Trail – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Fenway Trail – Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 22, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate.

This would be the second of three planned hikes here at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike would follow the yellow interior loop known as the Fenway Trail. Starting from the parking area at the bend of Miller Road, follow the red blazed trail into the preserve. The red trail, known as the Axis Road, cuts the property in two offering an easier connection to the two loops or an easier exit if need be. Soon the blue blazed Wapayu Trail comes in from the left. Continue straight ahead following the now red and blue blazes. At the next intersection the blue trails turns to the right. To the left is the yellow loop where you will exit from. Continue ahead here following now the red and yellow blazes. You will be under a canopy of beech trees along this stretch. You will pass a stone wall before coming to the split where the red stays to the left. Veer right here onto the yellow trail. The trail now follows an old cart path. You will get your first glimpses of ridges here and will notice the forest floor is covered with ferns.  The blue blazes rejoin the yellow trail for the first of three times. For this hike you will follow the yellow blazes. You are now leaving North Stonington and entering Griswold. The trail narrows a bit passing some stonework before dipping down into a small valley, crosses a brook, climbs up the first of the hills, before coming to a series of boardwalks. The trail here is rocky and root bound. Watch your step! The yellow trail splits from the blue again briefly as it weaves through an area of beautiful stone walls. Rejoining the blue trail, you will scramble up and over a hill through an area called Oak Alley. There are some rather large trees along the trail and some information about the Pequots. The yellow trail then turns to the left and zigzags down hill and rejoins the blue trail for the last time at the next right. The trail now follows an earthen dam for a bit before winding uphill passing an area of cairns, possibly of Native American origin, before coming to a sitting area. This is a good spot for a break as you are quite a distance from civilization. It tends to be quiet here. Continuing the trail winds downhill crossing over a brook. There is a spur trail to the left for a view of Lost Pond. The trail splits. Follow the yellow to the left. From here it follows a ridge and weaves through a fern covered forest. In this area you will cross into Preston, the third town of the Tri-Town Preserve. Next you cross a “log bridge” before coming to the intersection of the red trail. From here continue ahead and slightly to the right to continue to follow the yellow blazes. This will be the hardest part of this hike. That hill in front of you… you about to climb! You will spend sometime climbing to the top as the trail bends to the south and follows the ridgeline. I saw quite a few deer along this stretch. Near the top of the hill along the trail there is a boulder with a “spike” in it with the inscription “P & G”. Just after this point you will climb over the crest of the hill and start the long steady descent back into North Stonington. Near the end of the yellow trail it climbs slightly uphill one last time. At the next intersection turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Fenway Trail

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Fenway Trail Following A Ridgeline

Sammy C North – Charlestown

  • Sammy C North
  • Shumankanuc Hill Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’33.33″N, 71°41’23.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 20, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.7 miles
  • Moderate, can be difficult in areas.

                                                                            

 

Six days prior I had done the Sammy C South loop. I had realized then that there was more to the Sammy C to be done. Today, with a map in hand that shows all of the trails, I headed out to explore the rest as well as the Secret Trail. Starting from the small parking area (big enough for two cars) along Shumankanuc Hill Road, follow the unmarked trail into the Management Area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange! This trail is quite level and is flanked by small ledges giving you a preview of what lies ahead. You will reach a trail intersection. Make note of the area, you will need to leave the property here as well. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. You are now on the Sammy C Trail. It winds up and down and up and down several times over small hills and along ledges. There are some great stone walls along the way, one with an old gate opening marked by granite posts. Possibly an old farm? After climbing over several more small hills and weaving through their valleys the trail levels out a bit passing closely to Buckeye Brook Road before veering off to the left and slightly downhill. The Sammy C soon ends at the double white blazes. Here turn left onto the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail and follow it a bit crossing a stream first before coming to a trail intersection. At this intersection the yellow blazes turn to the right. Continue straight ahead onto an unmarked trail. This trail is fairly level. Start looking for a white/red double blaze on the left. This is the Secret Trail and it will give you a workout. Also be sure to follow the blazes as this trail turns often and suddenly in many locations as it traverses up and over several rock formations. Following the Secret Trail you will first encounter an upward climb followed by an area of trail that straddles a 20 foot plus ledge. There is no “guardrail” here so do use caution. Another highlight along this stretch is a towering sycamore tree in the valley below. The trail then comes out to a wider cart path. Turn right here, still following the blazes, and start looking for your next turn on the left. The next highlight is a large outcrop, the trail is to the right here slightly downhill. The trail now weaves through groves of mountain laurel and rock formations as it zigzags to the east. There is an area that can be a bit confusing ahead so be sure to follow the blazes. The trail descends in to a valley and quickly climbs up a rock outcrop. At the top the trail turns to the left and does an almost complete circle to the right before climbing up another rock. The blaze is beyond that rock. From here the trail descends into another valley, crosses a stream, and then climbs back up yet another significant hill before ending at the School House Pond Trail. Turning left here, follow the blue blazed trail as it descends down hill to the next trail intersection. Turn left, back onto the Sammy C Trail, blazed white, and follow it back to the trail you entered the Management Area on. Along the way you will come across a boardwalk, more mountain laurel, and another large outcrop. Note the indentation in the outcrop. It looks as if a hiker left their footprint here along their journey. When you reach the next intersection. Turn right. This will lead you back to the parking area.

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C North.

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The Sammy C Following an Outcrop Along A Stone Wall

Sammy C South – Charlestown

                                                                            

 

I went into this hike blindly assuming that the Sammy C Trail only ran from the Vin Gormley to the School House Pond Trail. I would learn later that was not true. I did have a plan and a route in mind (which I kept true to for this hike). This hikes starts along Kings Factory Road where the Vin Gormley skirts back into the woods just north of Quail Lane. There is street parking here for a handful of cars. There is also a “Mile 5.5” sign here. Following the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail, you will descend slightly until you get to Cool Spring Road. Here take a right and then an immediate left following the yellow blazes. Just after the road look for the sign for the Sammy C Trail on the right. The Sammy C Trail is used quite a bit by cyclists as it offers quite a bit of ups and downs. Following the white blazes the trail winds through glacial outcrops, thick ground covering, and a stream crossing before coming to the “NEMBA” bridge, a mountain bike obstacle. You will not miss it!! (NEMBA = New England Mountain Bike Association). The trail then zigzags up and over small ledges for a bit passing stone walls, a couple more boardwalks, and large areas of outcrops, before finally coming to the School House Pond Trail. This is where I thought the trail ended… but! The sign here indicated that the Sammy C continues north. With no information in hand I kept to the plan and decided the rest of the Sammy C would be done later after some research. So here I turned left and followed the blue blazed School House Pond Trail (toward the Vin Gormley) as it steadily, but gently climbed up hill for quite a distance. There is a nice grove of mountain laurel along this stretch. Soon I came to an intersection. To the right was the Secret Trail. Well that wasn’t on my map either. The next hike could prove to be interesting! Looking around I noticed the blue blazes uphill to the left. The trail now followed the edge of a ledge above a valley below to the right. The trail soon turns downhill, through the valley and back up the other side. The trail then continues passing a stone wall and crossing a stream before ending at the Vin Gormley Trail. Taking a left here, follow the yellow blazes. This trail will lead you back to the parking area, first passing through some interesting rock formations, and the by Cool Spring Road once again before ending at Kings Factory Road. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange!

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C South.

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NEMBA Bridge

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Along The Sammy C Trail

Midway – Exeter

  • Midway – Arcadia Management Area
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°34’48.63″N, 71°43’14.97″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 7, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This three mile loop trail weaves through, well, the mid-section of the sprawling Arcadia Management Area. The parking for this hike is a half mile off of Ten Rod Road at the Midway entrance. Follow the road first over the bridge at Flat River and then the parking area will be on the right opposite the road on the left immediately after a observation deck. From the parking area, continuing following the road (the Midway Trail) to an intersection. Continue straight ahead until you reach the closed red gate by the Midway kiosk. The hike continues beyond the gate, first passing through an area of woods before coming to a large open field. There are a couple narrow trails on each side, however continue straight ahead along the prominent Midway Trail passing an area of cleared trees on the left. The trail then turns to the left and back to the right again. Shortly after the “S” curve look for a trail on the right. There is a faded “Flat River Trail” sign here. Turn right and follow the trail into a valley. The trail soon bends to the left and you will catch a glimpse of the river through the woods. At the next intersection stay to the left. The trail is joined by another a little further up. Continue straight ahead until you reach Plain Road opposite the Shelter Trail. Here you will want to turn left and climb uphill on the road for two tenths of a mile. But first take a peek at the Flat River at the bridge to your right. After checking out the river and climbing up Plain Road look for a parking area on the left with a kiosk and pavilion. First note the grass road directly ahead that climbs up a quick hill, that is the Thornley Trail. This is the trail you want to follow after exploring and/or resting a bit. Where the pavilion is and the surrounding area is a dog training area. Continuing the hike, climb up the grass road trail. It quickly levels out offering an area of cleared trees to the left and a large field to the right. The trail soon bends to the right. At the next intersection continue straight ahead bearing ever so slightly to the right and into the woods. There will be several trail crossings along this stretch. Continue straight until you come to a dirt road. This is the Brookie Trail. Turn left here and follow it just under a mile back to the Midway Trail. There will be a few spots on the right that lead to the Falls River if you want to view that. At the Midway Trail turn right. You will arrive at the parking area in just a few hundred feet. Orange is required here during hunting season.

Along The Midway Trail

Mud Bottom Brook – West Greenwich

  • Mud Bottom Brook – Big River Management Area
  • New London Turnpike, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’4.38″N, 71°35’46.70″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 16, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Moderate, navigation can be difficult.

 

 

First and foremost, I would advise not to attempt this hike without a map, GPS tracking, good sense of direction, or all of the above. I personally have ventured into Big River enough times to feel comfortable enough to wander its many, many, many trails. To say Big River has a vast network of trails is a gross understatement. For this hike I took a wrong turn along the way and found myself on a trail that was not on the Great Swamp Press map and found myself relying on GPS tracking and my internal compass to make my way back to a main trail. (My guest did a great job at remaining calm!!) With that being said, I am going to attempt to recall my route, but please don’t rely on this post alone if you attempt this hike. From the parking area at the end of New London Turnpike by the Wincheck Gun Club we passed the gate and followed the pine tree flanked dirt road for about four tenths of a mile. Turning left the trail then winds downhill to its end. Here we turned right onto a trail called Sweet Sawmill Road. This trail climbs slightly uphill passing some stone walls on the right. At the next intersection we turned left and followed that trail just under a half mile to its end. The trail widens at its end, stay to the right here. The trail then declines slightly into the valley that Mud Bottom Brook runs through. Along the way, after a heavy rain, you may encounter some large puddles along this trail. At the next intersection stay to the right and again right a little further down the trail. This trail will lead you to the crossing at Mud Bottom Brook. There is a wobbly plank and stones here to make the crossing easy. From here we continue ahead until we came to a “T” intersection. The trail in both directions at the time of this hike was blazed blue. The blazes are amateur and not by any means the type of blazes seen at Arcadia. We turned left here and still feeling confident we were on the right track and started to follow the blue blazes. At the next intersection is where I suspect the plan went out the window. We came to the intersection realizing it was not on the map. Thinking we might have been a little further north, I suspected the trail to the left might be the second crossing of Mud Bottom Brook. We turned right here thinking it would continue along the edges of the peninsula are eventually turn south paralleling  the Carr River. It did not! (I do not actually know where the trail to left leads, that will be a hike for another day). After turning right we soon came to another intersection, again blue blazed. We turned right and followed it nearly a mile up and down hills, zigzagging back and forth to its end. This stretch was actually quite pretty. We passed stone walls, a rather large natural looking swale, and hunting stand along the way. At the intersection at the end of the trail blue blazes go to the right. Using the internal compass at this point we turned left and then almost immediately left again and then right just up ahead. The trail we were on would lead us back to the New London Turnpike trail. Turning right onto the sandy road it veers slightly to the right before curving to the left and straightening out. Ahead the sandy road splits again. Stay to the left here. This is the trail back to the parking area just under a mile away. The remainder of the walk climbs slightly uphill along the wide New London Turnpike. Be sure to wear orange here during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Mud Bottom Brook.

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The Crossing At Mud Bottom Brook

Grills Preserve – Hopkinton

  • Grills Preserve (Hopkinton)/How-Davey Preserve
  • Alton Bradford Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’31.52″N, 71°44’52.53″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 2, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, Grills/How-Davey, is the lesser known and the newest of the three. It spans over Hopkinton Land Trust property and the Nature Conservancy’s How Davey Preserve. From a parking area off of Route 91 (Alton Bradford Road), pass the two gates along the dirt road. The trail behind the kiosk you will return on. After passing the second gate you will follow the dirt access road for a bit. This section of the road is the blue trail, however it is not blazed. The road winds gently by some swampy areas and a couple boulders. Ahead on the right is the properties only (currently) blazed trail. Turn right here onto the red blazed trail. Immediately ahead of you is a cemetery. The most notable grave is quite a sad story, “two infants” who died a day apart. Continuing following the red trail to its end. You will want to turn left here, but first take a glimpse of an old cellar hole straight ahead. You may also catch a speeding train here (and at other points along this hike). The tracks are off-limits! After checking out the cellar hole continue with the hike. You will want to follow the un-blazed yellow trail, now to your right. Follow it to its end back to the access road. Make note of the railroad tie as a reference point. You will use this trail upon exiting. Turn right onto the road. It will wind back toward the railroad tracks and then parallel them for a bit before turning to the left, away from them, and slightly uphill. At the next intersection stay to the left. The trail continues to climb slightly uphill. There will be a four way intersection next. Turn right onto the narrower path and follow it to its end. Here turn left, making your way slightly downhill and passing through a stone wall. You are now on the How-Davey Preserve. Continuing ahead you will come to another split. Stay to the left here. In a few feet you will cross a small stream with a series of shallow waterfalls. The trail climbs uphill again. Turn right at the next trail intersection (the trail ahead leaves the property). After turning right the trail loops through the woods high over the Pawcatuck River below. This area is quite beautiful and will be going through a transformation over the next couple years as many of the trees here have fallen victim to the gypsy moth invasion a few years back. The ground shrubs cover nearly the entire hill and several saplings have already reached above them. After crossing two small streams this trail eventually loops back to the intersection by the series of small waterfalls. Here you will turn left making your way off of the Nature Conservancy property. At the next trail intersection continue straight ahead and then left at the next intersection. You are now back on the dirt road. Follow it back to the railroad tie at the beginning on the “yellow” trail. Turn left here, passing by the red trail. Continue straight the remainder of the hike. The trail will wind through some wet areas and over some boardwalks before ending back at the parking area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange.

 

No map on-line. Map available to view at kiosk.

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Cemetery at Grills Preserve

DeCoppett South – Richmond

  • DeCoppett South – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Hillsdale Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°30’44.97″N, 71°38’40.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 19, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult river crossing.

 

This hike in a lesser known State Management Area offers quite a bit. Beautiful trails, boulders, a pond, cemetery, and a nearly impossible river crossing. With that last part being said, be prepared to backtrack if the river is in fact impossible to cross as conditions change over time and can drastically be affected by recent weather. For this hike, in the southern section of the property, start from a small parking area on the west side of Hillsdale Road where Punchbowl Trail intersects. Cross the road towards the “Road Closed/Dead End” sign and follow the trail as it quickly descends downhill. Along this stretch you will observe several boundary signs before coming to the swiftly flowing Beaver River. This crossing offers a large planed log with a unique split at the far end. If you find this river crossing questionable, this hike may not be for you. Continuing ahead the trail slowly climbs uphill flanked by a stone wall on the left. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right is a cemetery. There are no visible inscriptions on the stones. This is the Phillips-Barber Cemetery with graves dating back to 1772. One of the graves is of that of Benjamin Barber who served in the American Revolution. Back on the trail, you will soon come to an intersection. Turn left here. In a few hundred feet the trail splits. Stay to the right here, the trail on your left is your “emergency exit”. The trail starts to climb uphill gently but for quite a while. After recent rains this section of trail can be quite muddy as it winds pass boulders small and large. At the top of the hill (1.1 miles from the start of the hike) take a sharp left turn. There is a small cairn here to mark the intersection. This trail starts the long,  and at times steep, descent back towards the Beaver River. Along the way you will pass through an impressive area of boulders and a trail on the left. Make note of this trail. If you can’t cross the river this trail is your “emergency exit” and will be the best way to exit as it avoids climbing the hill you just came down. When you reach the river you will notice there is no bridge. There is a row of stones here that can be used to cross when the river is low and calm. (At the time of this hike the river was swollen and rather deep after heavy rains. Crossing here was not an option. Wandering upstream a bit you will find a downed tree that crosses the river. Someone has tied a rope across the river where this tree is. Do not rely on the rope for balance. This is a difficult and dangerous crossing. You are on your own if you attempt this. After crossing follow the river downstream back to the trail.) On the other side of the river the trail becomes an area of grass. Stay to the left here, the trail turns slightly right and climbs gently uphill again passing sections of old fence and a cellar hole. There will be another trail to the right that follows an old split rail fence for a bit and up a small hill. Here is the Fielding-Vallet cemetery with noticeably modern graves as recent as 2010, that being of Hope Edwards, the last “tenant” of this property. After her death, per the wishes of Theakston de Coppett, this property was endowed to the State of Rhode Island to become a nature preserve. After checking out this cemetery, return to the last intersection and turn right. The trail soon comes out to Hillsdale Road. Turn left here and then right almost immediately and back into the woods. Along this stretch there is a short spur trail that leads to a field that is worth checking out. Continuing back on the trail you will come to a wide stream. After the last river crossing this one is a breeze. Still not easy though, as you have to jump from stone to stone. The trail then winds through pines and deciduous trees that have been ravaged by the recent gypsy moth infestations. At the next trail intersection, turn left. The trail is now covered in pine needles as you traverse your way through a pine grove. Ahead you will come to a four way intersection with a large boulder at the corner of a stone wall. You will eventually follow the trail to the left back to the parking area, but first you will want to follow the trail straight ahead of you. The trail leads to a large open field where you may catch a glimpse of hawks or turkey vultures. At the field turn right and follow the tree line for a bit to get a glimpse of Bailey Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the four way intersection where you will turn right to return to the parking area. The trails here are not blazed and there is no official map available for the property. It is highly recommended to use a GPS device here.

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The First River Crossing

Map

Trail Map – DeCoppett South

Worden Pond – South Kingstown

  • Worden Pond – Great Swamp Management Area
  • Great Neck Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°28’8.48″N, 71°34’46.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

The Great Swamp Management Area offers a little of everything. This hike will take you to the shores of Worden Pond and over the “heights” of Great Neck. Starting at the parking area, follow the road pass the kiosk. It will pass areas of swamp and small ponds before coming to the first split. Here there is a stone memorial marker for Dr. John Mulleedy. Stay to the left at this split and continue ahead. This road will soon pass under the power lines and gradually climb up hill for a bit pass stone walls and holly trees mixed among the other pines and deciduous. At the next split there is another stone memorial marker, this one for George McCahey. Again stay to the left at the split and continue ahead. You will notice that this road is a little less traveled. Not too far ahead is yet another split. There is no marker at this one and again stay to the left and continue ahead. When the hill finally crests (approximately 1.6 miles from the start of the hike) look for a side spur trail to the left. This is well worth checking out. In just a few foot steps you will come to a ledge that overlooks the land and swamp below. Take a moment here and then retrace your steps to the main trail and turn left. The road now winds downhill passing boulders, ledge, and mountain laurel before bending to the left and to a cove at the pond wedged between Stony Point and Case Point. Geese an ducks are a common site here and may startle you as you approach. The large concrete slab here is all that remains of a seaplane hanger. After checking out the pond for a bit make your way back a few feet and turn left. This spot is particularly muddy after stormy weather. This is a swamp after all!! The trail soon turns to the north and climbs quickly uphill. After two small fields on the right and one on the left you will come to the next split. Turn left here and follow the left side of the field, pass a stone wall at the treeline, and then follow the right side of the next field. You will then turn right onto a well defined road. This road will take you over some of the highest points of the property, known as Great Neck. You will start to come across several fields, particularly on the left. These fields offer clearings that give you sweeping views of the western portions of the property including the wildlife marsh that is featured on the Great Swamp hike. These fields are known to be a haven for American Woodcocks and Northern Flickers among several other birds (thank you URI student for that info!!). At the next intersection turn left and the road starts to descend. There are still great views over the fields on the left. As the road reaches the bottom of the hill you will pass under the power lines once again. Shortly after that is a small pond on the left. At the next intersection stay to the right and continue to follow the power lines until the road veer to the left away from them. Pass another field on the left and you will soon come to the Mulleedy Marker once again. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Worden Pond.

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Worden Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tippecansett Pond – Exeter

  • Tippecansett Pond/Wildcat Spring
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°34’26.30″N, 71°47’9.26″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 11, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Part unfinished business, part curiosity. A few years ago I had set out with Auntie Beak to do Tippecansett North from Stepstone Falls to Beach Pond. We ran into a trail closure at the South County Rod and Gun Club. That day we improvised and ending up hiking Escoheag Hill. After waiting a while, I decided to venture out along the Tippecansett from Beach Pond to the State Line and back making a stop at Wildcat Spring. For this hike I started from the parking area on the south side of Ten Rod Road at Beach Pond. After crossing the road I spotted the yellow and blue blazes I was looking for. The trail quickly climbs uphill into a pine grove. This short section will immediately test your stamina. Fear not, after a few ups and downs through this beautiful grove the trails level out for the most part. From the heights of this hill you can catch glimpses of Beach Pond below. Continuing along the trail you will come upon a dirt road. Turn left here and immediately right back into the woods. You are now at the split where the blue blazed Pachuag Trail veers to the left and yellow blazed Tippecansett Trail turns to the right. Follow the yellow blazes for the remainder of this hike (except for Wildcat Spring). The Tippecansett soon comes to an old dirt forest road. Turning left here, the road passes the blue blazed Pachaug Crossover trail, then climbs uphill, to the right, and then left, before coming to the intersection of the Deep Pond Trail. Staying to the left here the trail climbs to the top of a hill with stone walls and an old cemetery. From here the trail starts its descent. Start looking for a white blazed spur trail on the left. This is the trail to Wildcat Spring. The trail is not as well defined as the Tippecansett. Take your time and be sure to look for the next blaze before continuing ahead. At the end of the trail is a cluster of rocks and boulders with a natural bubbling spring. Take a few moments to linger here. Retrace your steps back to the Tippecansett Trail and turn left. The trail continues downhill to an area that is quite wide. To the right are “Posted: No Trespassing” signs. This is the property of the South County Rod & Gun Club and where the Tippecansett once turned to the right to points north such as the fire tower and Stepstone Falls. Continuing ahead an again slightly uphill a bit, you will be on Old Voluntown Road. The trail is still blazed yellow as this was to be the re-route of the trail before the closure of the Canonicus Trail (also crosses property of the Rod & Gun Club). Nonetheless, you will pass a “car wreck” on the left, then the road will turn slightly to the left as you start getting glimpses of Tippecansett Pond through the trees. The pond is entirely on Rod & Gun property as well. So you cannot access its shoreline. For this hike, I pushed forward to the State Line looking for a state line marker. It is a thousand feet plus or minus south of the road, however there is no trail to it. There are a few large boulders here. I sat for a moment, taking a short break before retracing my steps following the yellow blazes back to the parking area. I would suggest doing this hike in the spring or winter after the trees have shed their leaves or you may not be able to get a view of the ponds. Hunting is also allowed here, be sure to where orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Wildcat Spring & Tippecansett Pond.

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Tippecansett Pond from Old Voluntown Road

Grills Sanctuary – Hopkinton

  • Grills Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chase Hill Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’38.75″N, 71°45’48.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 22, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, starting from the Chase Hill Road trail head, is on the Grills Sanctuary. From the parking area, follow the white diamond blazed Tomaquag Trail as it first winds pass corn fields before entering the woods. The trail soon crosses over Wine Bottle Brook. Just after the brook the yellow square blazed East Loop will be on your left. Continue straight just a little further and turn right onto the orange rectangle blazed Cedar Swamp Trail. The pine needle covered trail passes under a canopy of tall trees before coming to the next intersection. Here turn right onto the yellow diamond blazed Peninsula Trail (note: this section of trail is not shown on the map) and follow it to a picnic area. Here turn right and cross the Tomaquag Brook via the bridge and boardwalk. You are now back on the white blazed Tomaquag Trail. At the end of the boardwalk the trail starts to climb and descend and again climb following ridgelines and a valley. Near the top of the second climb you can see much of the landscape around and below you. Though technically a viewing area, it might be tough to see very far when leaves are on the trees. If you were to continue ahead you would soon find yourself in the Westerly Grills. For this hike retrace your steps back to the bridge and boardwalk. After crossing the bridge stay to your right, pass the picnic area and bear to your right staying on the yellow diamond blazed Peninsula Trail. Ahead the trail makes a hard left as it reaches the river. Check out the spur trail to the right to view the Pawcatuck River before continuing along the trail. From here continue to follow the yellow blazes as the trail follows the river. It will soon come to the white blazed trail once again. Turn right here and follow the white blazes until you reach the yellow square blazed East Loop on the right. Following the yellow blazes will have you exploring the eastern reaches of the property. The loop traverses through low lying shrubs and a small grove of massive pines before returning to the white blazed trail for the last time. Turn right here and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Grills Sanctuary.

TWRI-GWS05

Tomaquag Bridge